Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with former Rams receiver Torry Holt, who is helping out at player-organized practices. Holt says he hasn't retired, but isn't sure whether he'll have another opportunity to sign with a team. Holt, on the Rams' receivers: "They want to learn. They want to be challenged. And that's what I was trying to do to them in these past couple days. I thought (Brandon) Gibson looked really good. (Danny) Amendola looked good. Plays really fast. Runs good routes. Austin Pettis, for a big guy, can really transition in and out of his breaks. He's a big target. I think he'll be an excellent target for Sam (Bradford). Greg Salas looked good. He's got some quick-twitch fibers. He's got to change some of his running motion. The tight end, (Lance) Kendricks, man, he is put together. He looks good. Very athletic."
Also from Thomas: He says during a chat that longtime team employees are on edge after coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney dismissed multiple employees with ties to the team's distant past. Thomas: "In my opinion, it's not a good situation. A lot of the rank-and-file here at Rams Park feel if they worked with the team in L.A., or were part of the move to St. Louis, etc., that there's a bull's eye on their back. It's not good for morale."
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams receiver Danario Alexander is looking healthier. Bradford: "Watching him go through wide receiver drills and just getting off the line, he looks much quicker, looks much faster, much more explosive than he did in the (2010) season."
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune explains why he thinks the Seahawks could be leaning toward going with Charlie Whitehurst as their starter in 2010. Williams: "While Matt Hasselbeck possesses more playmaking ability and would allow Seattle to do more in new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell's scheme because of his quick thinking at the line of scrimmage, I think Pete Carroll could be leaning toward handing over the reins to Whitehurst for a couple reasons. First, Whitehurst will not take as many risks, can move a little better outside the pocket, and still possesses a strong enough arm to keep defenses honest with the deep ball. He’s basically the game manager that Carroll is looking for, allowing the Seahawks to become more run-oriented offensively and to play from a defensive mindset by limiting turnovers and controlling field position -- something all defensive-minded head coaches want to do." The longer the lockout drags on, the easier it becomes for organizations to take the bigger-picture view. In this case, the bigger-picture view does not include Hasselbeck. I suspect the team would have re-signed Hasselbeck by now if there had been no lockout. The team could still bring him back, but making a clean break with the past becomes more likely as the lockout continues.
Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle passes along thoughts from Seahawks receiver Mike Williams, who had this to say about Whitehurst: "I think Charlie has a big-time arm, he can make all the throws. I think people were very critical of him this year but I don't think people take into consideration what repetitions do in this league and the looks and the more time that you have under center in practice and how it carries over to the game. So, I still think the judgment on Charlie definitely has to be out until he's had a full year of work under his belt to really assess where he's at."
Sam Wyche of NFL.com says longtime line coach Larry Beightol's endorsement played some role in the Seahawks' decision to draft Alabama tackle James Carpenter. Beightol, who helped train Carpenter before the draft, was the Packers' offensive line coach from 1999 to 2005. Wyche: "Carpenter trains where roughly 30 Raiders players will be training for three days this week as part of a 'minicamp' organized by veteran defensive end Richard Seymour. Carpenter said he'll be asking those players about Tom Cable, his style and gathering any information that could help him make the transition to the NFL quicker."
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune offers thoughts on Seahawks owner Paul Allen after reading Allen's memoir. Boling: "One of the early surprises in the recently published book is that Allen’s love of sports initially arose as a participant. Well, sort of a participant. He said he sat on the end of the bench for his peewee church league basketball team. At Washington State, he played hours of H-O-R-S-E in the frat house driveway where his 'notorious matador' shot was hard to beat.' He claims he rarely dropped a pass on his frat intramural football team."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com looks back at 1985, one of the more disappointing seasons in team history. Seattle was coming off a 12-4 season that suggested even better things ahead. Farnsworth: "What the Seahawks did, however, was finish 8-8. And not just any old 8-8, mind you. There was a sinister symmetry to their .500-ness, as they won two games, lost two games, won two games and so on from promising start to disappointing finish. They never lost more than two in a row, nor won more than two in a row."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com expects Aldon Smith and Kendall Hunter to have the greatest immediate impact among the 49ers' 2011 draft choices. Maiocco: "Aldon Smith will be asked to rush the passer, first and foremost. During his two college seasons, Smith showed an ability to get to the quarterback. It's a skill that transitions well to the NFL, as I wrote about over the weekend. A good pass-rusher can step into the professional ranks and immediately begin harassing quarterbacks."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers' player-organized practices have not been as extensive as those being put together by the Rams and some other teams. Barrows: "One of the obstacles is that the Bay Area is an expensive place to live and that many of the players choose to live elsewhere in the offseason. Another is that the two players in the most prominent leadership positions -- the starting quarterback and the players' representative -- technically aren't part of the team. Alex Smith and Takeo Spikes are both likely to re-sign with the 49ers when the lockout is lifted, but both are currently unrestricted free agents. Furthermore, Spikes lives in the Atlanta area."
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says 49ers veterans will have to pick up the slack after the NFL canceled its rookie symposium.
Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider says it's possible players could form bad habits during coach-free practices, according to general manager Trent Baalke.
Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat explains why Dom Capers' meticulous approach could influence the 49ers' current coaches.
Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News says Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick valued Arizona workout sessions and a chance to train with Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzpatrick: "The Arizona workouts were awesome. Everybody was willing and ready to work. It was basically a business trip. We had some fun. But when we were on the field, it was just us guys from the Bills. There was a lot of grinding out there. ... The good thing too was the very last day we were able to go work out with the Cardinals. Comparing yourself to some of those guys, I know our receivers like looking at that. And even just learning some stuff from Larry Fitzgerald, a guy like that. We got a lot of good stuff out of that."